173 episodes

Our hosts speak with leading experts in public policy, media, and international affairs about their experiences confronting the world's most pressing public problems.

PolicyCast Harvard Kennedy School

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Our hosts speak with leading experts in public policy, media, and international affairs about their experiences confronting the world's most pressing public problems.

    239 He predicted globalization’s failure, now he’s planning what’s next

    239 He predicted globalization’s failure, now he’s planning what’s next

    Summary: For more than a quarter century, economist and Harvard Kennedy School professor Dani Rodrik has been ringing alarm bells about the dangers of globalization. And for a long time, it didn’t seem like a whole lot of people were listening. Now as record economic inequality, a climate in crisis, and global financial shocks from to the COVID pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have exposed the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of unchecked globalization and neoliberal orthodoxy about the primacy of markets, Rodrik may be having the world’s least-satisfying “I told you so” moment. But while the temptation might be to look backward for vindication, Rodrik is choosing to look toward solutions instead. He says that finding a way forward for the world economy will require two kinds of thinking: small picture—about how to create good jobs in an equitable way in specific settings—and big picture: imaging possible futures and what a more inclusive, post-globalization economy might look like. And he says it will also mean freeing political and economic discourse from what he calls a “prison of ideology” that rigidly limits policymakers’ ability to consider solutions outside of market-centric approaches. Rodrik recently launched a new project called Reimagining the Economy with fellow professor Gordon Hansen, supported by a $7.5 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The initiative will be based at the Kennedy School's Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

    Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has published widely in the areas of economic development, international economics, and political economy. His current research focuses on employment and economic growth, in both developing and advanced economies. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize of the Social Science Research Council and the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. Professor Rodrik is currently president of the International Economic Association and co-director of the Economics for Inclusive Prosperity network. His newest books are “Combating Inequality: Rethinking Government's Role” (2021, edited with Olivier Blanchard) and “Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy (2017).” He is also the author of “Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science” (2015), “The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy” (2011) and “One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth” (2007).

    Ralph Ranalli of the HKS Office of Public Affairs and Communications is the host, producer, and editor of HKS PolicyCast. A former journalist, public television producer, and entrepreneur, he holds an A.B. in Political Science from UCLA and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University.

    The co-producer of PolicyCast is Susan Hughes. Design and graphics support is provided by Lydia Rosenberg, Delane Meadows and the OCPA Design Team. Social media promotion and support is provided by Natalie Montaner and the OCPA Digital Team.

    • 38 min
    238 Reform, refugees, and the war next door: President Maia Sandu of Moldova

    238 Reform, refugees, and the war next door: President Maia Sandu of Moldova

    Maia Sandu has been president of Moldova since December 2020. She is the first woman to be president of the country, and she named fellow Party of Action and Solidarity member Natalia Gavrilița as prime minister, marking the first time that two women have held the country’s two highest political posts at the same time. Sandu was named prime minister in June 2019, but was removed from power just six months later when Moldova’s Russia-leaning socialist party pulled out of the governing coalition over her reform efforts. She served as the country’s education minister from 2012 until 2015, instituting numerous reforms including ending widespread cheating on exams and bribery of education officials. Sando holds earned her mid-career masters of public administration degree at Harvard Kennedy School in 2010, and worked as a senior advisor for the World Bank in Washington DC before returning to Moldova. Sandu was born in 1972 in the city of Risipeni, in what was then the Moldavian Soviet Socialistic Republic, the daughter of a veterinarian and a schoolteacher.

    Ralph Ranalli of the HKS Office of Public Affairs and Communications is the host, producer, and editor of HKS PolicyCast. A former newspaper journalist, public television producer, and entrepreneur, he holds an A.B. in Political Science from UCLA and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University.

    The co-producer of PolicyCast is Susan Hughes. Design and graphics support is provided by Lydia Rosenberg, Delane Meadows and the OCPA Design Team. Social media promotion and support is provided by Natalie Montaner and the OCPA Digital Team.

    • 25 min
    237 The pandemic's silver lining—a trove of data on social protection programs

    237 The pandemic's silver lining—a trove of data on social protection programs

    Development economist Rema Hanna sees the thousands of new social protection programs created during the COVID-19 pandemic as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the best ways to help lift people out of poverty. The Harvard Kennedy School professor tells PolicyCast host Ralph Ranalli that with the pandemic came massive economic and social disruption—people couldn’t work, and there were widespread closures of not just businesses but also schools and other social institutions. Governments and relief organizations leapt into action, and by last May more than 220 countries or territories had either planned or implemented more than 3,000 new social protection programs. Social protection refers to policies and programs that insulate people against the risks and shocks of life—like COVID, natural disasters, and economic downturns—but that also provide ongoing financial assistance to low-income families and work to break poverty cycles. Hanna sees those thousands of new programs not just as a lifeline for desperate people, but also a chance to study which kinds of social protection schemes work better than others, and how research-based policies can address intractable problems like poverty and inequity into the future. She recently launched the Social Protection Initiative, a project that will involve hundreds of academics and researchers across the globe.

    • 35 min
    236 How worldwide outrage over atrocities in Ukraine is fueling a new push for international justice

    236 How worldwide outrage over atrocities in Ukraine is fueling a new push for international justice

    A mass grave behind a church. Bodies of children and families buried under the rubble of a theater where they had been seeking refuge. Streets littered with bodies of civilians who were shot, hands tied behind their backs. Almost every day, the headlines bring news of new violations of international human rights norms and the rules of war in Ukraine, including attacks by the Russian army on hospitals, schools, residential buildings, and even water facilities. Those revelations have also launched daily accusations against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military of war crimes and illegal aggression, and calls for international investigations and prosecutions. Now a group of Harvard Professors says that the war in Ukraine could be a watershed moment for the evolving notion of meaningful international justice.

    In a recent Op-Ed, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Kathryn Sikkink and Harvard Chan School of Public Health faculty members Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham, say it is time for the countries of the world to invest both their geopolitical and financial capital in the International Criminal Court. Located in the Hague in the Netherlands, the ICC was established 20 years ago as the world’s first permanent international criminal court to pursuing prosecutions war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and, most recently, a new violation called the crime of aggression.

    Kathryn Sikkink has been researching the nexus of human rights and international justice since she first witnessed the Trial of the Juntas in Argentina as a PhD student in the mid-1980s. Patrick Vinck is the Research Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and, with his partner and spouse Phong Pham, a pioneer in the field of data collection from conflict zones. Sikkink and Vinck say while there have been legitimate criticisms of the ICC for being ineffective or for focusing too much on certain regions such as Africa, critics are missing the bigger picture—and the remarkable story of how much traction the notion of international humanitarian justice has gained since the end of World War II. And even if Vladimir Putin never sees the inside of a courtroom, they say research shows that the mere act of identifying war crimes and pursuing prosecutions, can lower the rate at which those crimes occur.

    Episode Notes:

    Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Sikkink works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice (an approach to systematic or massive violations of human rights that both provides redress to victims and creates or enhances opportunities for the transformation of the political systems). Her publications include “The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibilies,” “Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century,” and “The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award). She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a member of the editorial board of the American Political Science Review. She holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University and has been a Guggenheim fellow and a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina.

    Patrick Vinck is Research Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. With his partner and spouse, Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Phuong Pham, Vinck leads a team conducting research on resilience, peacebuilding, and social cohesion in contexts of mass violence, conflicts and natural disasters, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, UNDP, and UNICEF,

    • 37 min
    235 O'Sullivan and Frankel: How the sanctions on Putin's Russia are reshaping the world economic order

    235 O'Sullivan and Frankel: How the sanctions on Putin's Russia are reshaping the world economic order

    • 39 min
    234 Keyssar and Fung: America’s flawed democracy is in deep—and possibly fatal—trouble

    234 Keyssar and Fung: America’s flawed democracy is in deep—and possibly fatal—trouble

    Harvard Kennedy School Professors Alex Keyssar and Archon Fung say the U.S. political system, stripped of a consensus belief in democratic principles, is racing down a dangerous road toward political and social upheaval and possible minority rule. American democracy, they tell PolicyCast host Ralph Ranalli, is in trouble to an extent not seen in many decades, possibly since the Civil War, or perhaps ever. If you believe in democracy as essentially one-person, one-vote, and as a system where every voter has a roughly equal say in how our country is governed, then frankly, you would never design a system of elections and governance like the one in the United States. But the U.S. system wasn’t built for that. It was built, compromise piled upon compromise, to somehow accommodate people with very different views—about what the country should be and who should have the power to decide—inside one system that, at a minimum, everyone could at least live with. But now, stripped of a consensus acceptance of underlying democratic principles by a Republican Party pursuing power at any cost, they say the same compromises that were designed to protect minority opinions are being exposed as mortal flaws that can allow for what would effectively be minority rule. And there seems to be little in the way of systemic failsafes to stop it. Alex Keyssar is a renowned historian and scholar on the American political system. Archon Fung is a leading political scientist and heads the democratic governance programs of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. They’re here to talk about what they call a dynamic, disturbing, and potentially very dangerous time for American democracy.

    Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy. An historian by training, he has specialized in the exploration of historical problems that have contemporary policy implications. The author of numerous books, his work “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States” (2000), was named the best book in U.S. history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 2004-2005, Keyssar chaired the Social Science Research Council's National Research Commission on Voting and Elections, and he writes frequently for the popular press about American politics and history. His latest book, “Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?” (2020), is published by Harvard University Press.

    Archon Fung is the Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research explores policies, practices, and institutional designs that deepen the quality of democratic governance. He focuses upon public participation, deliberation, and transparency. He co-directs the Transparency Policy Project and leads democratic governance programs of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School. His books include “Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency” and “Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy.” He has authored five books, four edited collections, and over fifty articles appearing in professional journals. He received two S.B.s — in philosophy and physics — and his Ph.D. in political science from MIT.

    Host Ralph Ranalli is a senior writer and media producer for the Harvard Kennedy School Office of Communications and Public Affairs. A veteran journalist and entrepreneur, he holds an A.B. in political science from UCLA, and an S.M. in journalism from Columbia University.

    PolicyCast is a production of Harvard Kennedy School and co-produced by Ralph Ranalli and Susan Hughes.

    For more information, please visit our web page or contact us at PolicyCast@hks.harvard.edu.

    • 38 min

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